Tuesday, 24 May 2016 00:00

Sanders Has It Exactly Right: Majority of Americans Want 'Medicare for All' System

Written by Lauren McCauley | Common Dreams
A member of National Nurses United holds a sign at a Bernie Sanders rally that reads: "Love it. Improve it. Medicare for All." A member of National Nurses United holds a sign at a Bernie Sanders rally that reads: "Love it. Improve it. Medicare for All." (Photo: National Nurses United)

Gallup survey results highlight 'broad, national longing for a more humane health care system that treats health care as a human right'

Bernie Sanders' call to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with a single-payer healthcare system is a policy that a strong majority of Americans agree with, according to a new Gallup survey released on Monday.

Fifty-eight percent of all U.S. adults favor replacing the ACA with a federally-funded healthcare program, such as Sanders' Medicare for All.

This is compared with 48 percent who prefer to keeping Obama's healthcare system in place, a policy which has been a cornerstone of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton's campaign platform.

"While the ACA curbed some of the most egregious insurance abuses, our healthcare system remains a profit-focused, bureaucratic nightmare for far too many people," Jean Ross, registered nurse and co-president of National Nurses United, told Common Dreams by email. 

Speaking to the Gallup survey findings, Ross added: "What the Bernie Sanders campaign has demonstrated is a broad, national longing for a more humane health care system that treats health care as a human right not based on ability to pay, or your age, gender, race, or where you live." The 185,000-member union has endorsed the Vermont senator, citing his single-payer healthcare plan as one of the key reasons behind their support.

Last week, Clinton "took a step left," as the New York Times put it, with the suggestion that as president she would offer a public option for people above a "certain age."

Notably, when the results were broken down by party affiliation, Gallup found that 41 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters prefer the public option compared to just 16 percent who would want to keep the ACA.

"This may reflect either that Republicans genuinely think a single-payer system would be good for the country, or that they view any proposal to replace the ACA ("Obamacare") as better than keeping it in place," the pollsters state.

At the same time, 73 percent of Democrats and Democrat-leaning voters prefer replacing the ACA with a federal program while 79 percent of those voters would opt to keep the standing system.

However, Gallup found that those who favor both a federally run national healthcare system and the ACA, when given a choice, "come down on the side of the Sanders-type proposal."

"The general idea of a single payer system seems to play well with the majority of Americans," Gallup states, which is something both Clinton and the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump "will need to keep in mind as they debate healthcare in the months to come."

For his part, Trump has vowed as president to repeal the ACA and replace it with a series of healthcare reforms based on "free market principles."

The results are based on telephone surveys with 1,549 adults between May 6 and 8. Gallup estimates a 3-point margin of error.

Link to original article from Common Dreams

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